Pedro Manuel Faria is the CEO of a company called In Forming, a spin-off company of Famousgadget Lda. Pedro was kind enough to let me interview him in a rather unconventional fashion, through LinkedIn messaging. Our main discussion topic was the new project management software his company was building called “Track on Performance.”
*DISCLAIMER: I am NOT being paid for this article (Honestly, it’s a small blog with very few readers – how much is it worth anyway?). Pedro is a contact of mine on LinkedIn and we started talking and even becoming friends I think. I alpha/beta tested this software a few months ago, found it very interesting, and I asked him if I could interview him for my blog. He agreed and the results are below.
Pedro lives and works in Portugal, and I am in the United States. We have gotten to know each other a little bit through LinkedIn messaging. He is an interesting person once you get to know him. He is very open and very honest and that makes him very likable. He once told me he grows his own olives and makes olive oil. I like olive oil so I asked his opinion on a purchase of mine a few months ago.
His response made me laugh a little bit. And then I realized I overpaid for olive oil that wasn’t very good apparently.
But I didn’t create this article to talk about olive oil, I created it to talk about Pedro and his company’s new project management tool. You will find the interview below. First I would like to say that I have tried this tool. It was in its early stages and it seems to have come a long way since the last time I played around with it.
You can give the current free version a try here (https://trackonperformance.com/). Simply create a new account by providing an email address, a name, and a password. You can click on “New Project” and you are ready to start. That makes it simpler to start a project than Jira.
Under Resources you can add new people to your project by providing a name and an email for them, even provide some details such as their job role.
I found the project charter tool fairly interesting. I always seem to struggle with keeping track of stakeholders in projects I have worked on. I can add them to my notes all day long, but this tool gives me the ability to keep a running list right there with the project of all the names I need to help ensure I never miss another stakeholder again.
I would suggest you go over there and play around for a little bit. Work with the graphical tools the software provides for you, the built-in risk register, or the document storage capabilities. Keep in mind that it is still undergoing some development work, but I think enough of it is completed that you can see some of the potential uses of this software.
Slideshow Tutorial on Some Features of Track On Performance:
Me: In your own words – Describe your new product (features, purpose):
Pedro: It’s a project management tool, just like the 500 that are already in the market, but actually is for project managers and intuitive at the same time. The innovation is very high because the planning table and whole dashboard are really simple, avoiding unnecessary icons like everyone finds in common software.
Me: With all of the project management tools out there, what makes your product different/unique/better?
Pedro: Well, that’s easy, there is more than 500 software in the market, so why everybody ends on planning everything in an excel? Our planning table looks much more like a spreadsheet because we started from “what the user really needs” perspective and not just a bunch of marketing and features. We work from the PMP/PMI (project manager professionals) perspectives from the beginning and we made it simpler so anyone can learn actually to plan and control very easy without having the need to know about project management methodologies.
There are many more new features that beat any PM software in the market. Like the connectivity feature that allows different dashboards for the different type of users. A manager has performance and visual data, a member only has the tasks. No visual noise or extras. And they all can have by a multiple account system by one single log in connection. Imagine Incubators can start to understand, finally, what are the real-time progress on their companies. Presently, most of the incubators don’t even know if some of the startups are actually working on their projects.
Me: When can people start using Track on Performance?
Pedro: Now, it’s free, because it’s beta! Yes, it’s missing a lot of stuff but you can try and help us to improve. We are also giving this to schools and startups so, even after the Beta stage, this will always be free to students, teachers and new entrepreneurs.
Everyday updates will come for the next 9 to 12 months until we have our official release.
Me: Explain your quality control and testing process for the product:
Pedro: This is really a typical project manager oriented question! We are at beta so the testing process is basically a big deal in our company at this stage because we will have to have sure we listen to the audience and not only ourselves.
We have our own department in our company which is a very unusual position CQO – Chief Quality Operations – which checks not only the input from our consumers but the way we actually deal with it. Like I said, most of the companies can receive and process feedback from users, however, not always they know how to listen or understand the client’s perspective. I don’t want to make this mistake. TOP Is an app to rule the next 10 years on project management so, listen to the client is definitely something that any project manager knows how to do, and so is my team.
Me: Can this be used for agile and waterfall projects? What makes it useful for agile?
Pedro: Well we are combining all project manager techniques and trying to explain there’s no specific wall between them. Agile is very useful for short-term projects and Waterfall is very useful for long terms. But one needs another in many ways as nowadays all projects have change all the time and we need to be able to plan ahead.
In our application, we give it first to plan a WBS, but after we offer the possibility, with automatic solutions to launch iterations “sprints” or even check the iterations on a Kanban or Scrum board view. These last features are still offline but are coming soon.
Me: What are your hopes for the company in 2019?
Pedro: We want to help students and startups to plan better and lead their great projects to success. This is very important because it’s part of our business model to work with the whole startup ecosystem. Imagine the investor side: Are you going to put 1 milllion$ in those entrepreneurs that never run a company before? Well, we have this Chinese saying as our role model: Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime!
So, we want that students and entrepreneurs start to learn how to plan and monitor and deal with task processing, and with some methodology. If you actually do the whole process even if it is high-level, then you at least secure some control of your company, else, if this wasn’t true, project managers were actually superfluous in the business world.
So, first, we want to grow this urge to plan Vs control over students, entrepreneurs, new companies, and even big companies.
If it comes viral, that’s only because people believed that great projects are everywhere and we need to plan and control well to lead them to a great success!
Me: What motivated you to create Track on Performance?
Pedro: Simple, the lack of knowledge of project management processes among the whole more than 500 software applications in the market.
Olive Oil Tips From Pedro:
“Olive fat is really healthy as much as you can put in. Check always olive oil bottle labels. It should tell that it was pressed on cold methods and acid must be under 0.5% that means it’s really fresh (means not only is 100% olives but also means that the fruit went fresh without oxidation to the press)”
Images and information supplied by Pedro Faria